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Lloydminster businesses see jump in bicycle sales during pandemic

The bicycle business is booming in Lloydminster.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected many industries negatively, one business that’s seeing the opposite is bike sales. With more free time and recreational sports being limited, Lloydminster residents have turned to cycling as their physical activity of choice.

Jim Taylor, owner of Grindin Gears Bikes and Boards, says they sold out of their bicycle inventory by the end of April and now their skateboard sales are also on the rise with the reopening of the skatepark.

“Everybody wants to get outside and there are a couple of things you can do outside [one] is biking.”

He says they’re trying to get more bikes into the store with customers on a waiting list for their new stock. Taylor mentions demand for servicing and repairs have also double compared to the same time last year.

“We were getting truck loads of bikes, anywhere from three to eight bikes at a time from families bringing in bikes all at once. Once the snow melted and they could get them out of the shed and we’ve seen all types of bikes from kids to adults coming in regularly to the point where we were 60 to 70 bikes behind in repairs.”

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Kurtis Groenink, bike manager for Factory Sports Excellence, says they’ve also saw a huge demand for bicycles.

“We’ve sold twelve months worth of bikes in three months and we’re waiting on the 2021 stock to come in for us to be able to actually have something. We have a few models and a few different brands here still but our main ones are pretty much sold out.”

Groenink says people who would normally spend their money on other sporting goods like lacrosse or field hockey are spending their money on bikes instead.

Grindin Gears is seeing significant sales now but it hasn’t been an easy ride for Taylor the entire time. Early on when the pandemic guidelines were put in place, Taylor had to let go all of his workers and took care of the store by himself.

“It was scary at the start in March, when we saw our snow season stop dramatically so we had to change. Laid off all my staff and [was] working by myself for about a month and going by appointment only.”

“The good thing about being a small business is that I can pivot and adjust the business the way I need to quickly,” he adds. “Which I think was my advantage, I could adjust very quickly to focus on service to make sure I break it down by customer.”

Since then, Taylor has rehired all of his employees and hired an extra mechanic to get through the backlog of repairs. They are still following provincial guidelines ensuring physical distancing and continue with limited hours for now.

As far as how bike-friendly the city is, both are in agreement that things are getting better.

“Trails are getting better. People are understanding that they are a part of the road and they’ve got to obey by that. It’s definitely nice to see more bikes out on the streets,” Groenink says.

“Lloydminster is recognizing that they need to put a plan in place for maintaining the old paths for people moving in. Not just for the people of Lloydminster but the new residents to Lloydminster that come from other cities that are used to paths. They just finished a survey around the paths expansion and I expect it to have a really good response.”

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